David Lidington dismisses speculation he could replace Theresa May as PM

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On Wednesday 20 March the British Prime Minister, Theresa May announced that she would be seeking an extension to the Brexit negotiations to avoid the looming cliff-edge deadline of Friday next week when the United Kingdom was expected to leave the European Union (EU).

She was meeting key pro-Brexit colleagues on Sunday at her country residence, Chequers along with ministerial colleagues including Mr Lidington.

With Mrs May weakened, ministers publicly downplayed any immediate threat to her leadership, insisting that she is still in control and the best option is for parliament to ratify her Brexit divorce deal.

"I'm realistic that we may not be able to get a majority for the prime minister's (Brexit) deal and if that is the case then parliament will have to decide not just what it's against but what it is for", Hammond said.

The newspaper said it had spoken to 11 senior ministers who "confirmed that they wanted the prime minister to make way for someone else" and planned to confront her at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Under Conservative Party rules, Mrs May can not face a formal leadership challenge from within her own party until December because she survived one three months ago. But she may be persuaded that her position is untenable if Cabinet ministers and other senior party members desert her.

The Sunday Times reported she was "at the mercy of a full-blown Cabinet coup", with plans afoot for her de facto deputy David Lidington to take over in a caretaker capacity.

The Mail on Sunday said May could be ousted "within days" and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a prominent Brexiteer, could become interim leader. Tory Party insiders, while maintaining that the pressure is on the Prime Minister to change her stance, said the option of tabling the current version of the Exit Bill for a third consecutive time could not be ruled out.

"I don't think that I have any wish to take over from the PM, I think (she) is doing a fantastic job", he said.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London for the anti Brexit march
TIM IRELAND APHundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London for the anti Brexit march

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the indicative votes must be a "serious exercise".

The Cabinet is focused on the best way to get Mrs May's withdrawal plan passed in the House of Commons, Mr Lidington said.

Commenting on UK Prime Minister Theresa May's agreement, Hammond stated that the lawmakers had it in their grasp "to either agree", or "find another deal". If the vote fails, MPs will have until 12 April to either propose a new divorce plan to the European Union - which could be rejected by Brussels - or decide to leave without a deal.

Indicative votes: A cross-party plan, backed by Tory Remainers Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve and Labour's Hilary Benn, calls for a series of votes on alternative Brexit plans to take place on Wednesday, essentially taking control of the Brexit process from government.

He wrote today: "I'm afraid it's all over for the PM".

Tom asked her: "You don't think a lot of your members would like to have see the leader of their party standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them in solidarity at this march?" Everyone feels betrayed. Government's gridlocked.

"This can't go on". They include a call for the government to ask the Commons whether it approves a no-deal or extending Article 50 again, a pro-Brexit amendment asking the government to reaffirm its commitment to leave the European Union, and a plan for a two-year extension to hold a second referendum.

Since the Brexit vote in 2016, the prospect of a second referendum has gone from something once barely imaginable to something remotely possible.

The divisions show no sign of healing: hundreds of thousands of people marched through London to demand another referendum on Saturday and 5.2 million have signed a petition calling for another vote.

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